Questions tagged [commentaries]

Questions related to Jewish commentaries, their meaning and their origin.

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Establishing the relative order of Rashi's commentaries

In learning Masekhet Ketubot, I encountered Rashi's definition of בי שמשי on daf 103a. There, since the passage is clearly referring to twilight on erev shabbat in particular, Rashi explains why so ...
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1answer
170 views

Beit Av v.s. Mishpechah

In Joshua 2:12-13(Mechon Mamre translation) the Torah reads: 12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that ye also will deal kindly with my ...
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1answer
123 views

Judges Chapter 9 and Aesop's Fable

In the book of Judges 9:8-15 we have the following fable: 8 The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive-tree: Reign thou over us. 9 But the olive-...
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Ben David and ben Yoseph not describing the herritage

Is it possible that the titles ‘ben David’ and ‘ben Yoseph’ do not refer to blood kinship or origin, but serve as a reference to the fact that someone possesses certain qualities, traits, abilities or ...
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Three days before Matan Torah and three days of fast before Purim

Bnei Yisrael had to prepare themselves for three days before the giving of the Torah. As a parallel to this receiving of the Torah, the Jews "accepted" the Torah on Purim (kiy'mu v'kiblu). The ...
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Why is the format for referencing books sometimes backwards?

The Rambam is usually reference in the following way: פרק א׳ מהלכות ק״ש הלכה ט׳ - chapter 1 from from hilchos kerias shma, halacha 9. Why is it referenced this way? Why not the way many ...
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114 views

New heaven and earth?

Yeshayahu 65:17 (66:22): "כִּי־הִנְנִי בוֹרֵא שָׁמַיִם חֲדָשִׁים וָאָרֶץ חֲדָשָׁה וְלֹא תִזָּכַרְנָה הָרִאשֹׁנוֹת וְלֹא תַעֲלֶינָה עַל־לֵב׃ " writes about a new heaven and earth. Although I’m not ...
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What is 1,530 a reference to?

In his commentary to Genesis 7:12, R. Isaiah of Trani (the Elder) writes: וכן במניין ישראל אלף וחמש מאות ושלשים ואי אפשר דבר זה שלא היה אחד מהם יתר או חסר אלא כן דרך המקראות לתפוש מניין שלם ואפי' ...
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Why did Rashi choose Hebrew over Aramaic?

Rashi chose a form of Medieval Hebrew to write his commentaries, which facilitates the life of many students, as the Aramaic content in his writing is very low compared to the Gemara or contemporary ...
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105 views

The 62 Years of Darius/Cyrus, and the 62 Weeks of Daniel

Has ancient or medieval Jewish tradition, spanning from the Talmud to the Shulchan Aruch, ever connected these two passages from the Book of Daniel ? Daniel 5:30-6:1  That very night, Belshazzar, ...
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Moving things around “opposite the gap” in an enclosure on Shabbat

On Shabbat there are mitigating structures whose presence can enclose an area physically, constituting a necessary ingredient in allowing movement of objects within that area. There are several ...
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Did Ralbag's predecessors help him, or make things more difficult for him?

At the end of his commentary to Parshat Bereishit, Ralbag writes that he had difficulty composing his commentary to this parshah because the earlier commentaries practically pushed him away from ...
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What is the Shaḥaf according to Ḥizquni?

The שחף (Shaḥaf) is a bird forbidden by the Torah in both Sefer Wayiqra and Devarim. Ḥizquni (חזקוני, Rabbi Ḥizqiyah ben Manoaḥ), writing in Old French, states (Wayiqra 11:16): אשפמר"א ויש אומרים: ...
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109 views

Difference between שֵׁבֶט and מַטֶּה

I wondered if there is a difference between the words שֵׁבֶט (rod, stick, staff) and מַטֶּה (rod, stick, staff) in matter of function, symbolism, and 'spiritual meaning'? A mateh seems almost like a ...
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180 views

Connection between the three Atzeret?

I noticed that there are three moments called Atzeret. The seventh day of Pesach (Deuteronomy 16:8) Shavuot (Pesachim 68b) Shemini Atzeret (Leviticus 23:36) But what is the connection between these ...
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100 views

Adam 's sin out of deveikut?

I found this online: In his sefer "Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh," R' Itamar Shwartz emphasizes the important point that our existence in this world is for the purpose of being davuk to our Creator; to be ...
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1answer
101 views

How to define yetzer

The word yetzer is often translated as impulse, inclination Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch's reading of yetzer in Bereshit 6:5 is not that of instinct or impulse, but rather that which the person, qua ...
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Where in the writings of the Vilna Gaon does he discuss how Rashi & Tosfot each explain a Talmudic “sugiya?”

Two days ago, I asked this question in the name of the Vilna Gaon. I was informed that the answer may be [also] found in the writings of Rav Chaim Volozhin. So, I re-phrased the question. My ...
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Has anyone learned the Sheiltot of R. Achai Gaon with the Netziv's commentary?

Would you recommend it? I really enjoy learning anything with the Netziv and I like the idea of halachic midrashim on the parsha with some ethical messages. It seems like it's a great way to learn ...
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a non halachic pirush on maseches kelim

I recall once having seen a pirush on maseches kelim from a kabalah - chasidus viewpoint, and i since cant recall the name of the sefer or who wrote it, any ideas?
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Did the Rambam write in response to the Ibn Ezra?

According to some interpretations (including, it seems, the explanations of Spinoza) the Ibn Ezra's commentary makes allusion to the idea that some of the Torah (beyond the talmudic discussion of the ...
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Language of Mishneh Brurah - Sefiras HaOmer and counting before Aleinu

Shulchan Aruch 489:1 says that after Maariv of the second night of Pesach we begin to count Sefiras HaOmer. The Mishneh Brurah there in note 2 says that one should count before "Aleinu" because "col ...
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51 views

Rav Yosef Karo's Kesef Mishneh: is there online an English translation?

Do you know of online an English translation of Rav Yosef Karo's Kesef Mishneh? Unless I'm mistaken, it is a fundamental work to better understand the Mishneh Torah.
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“Saving up” an explanation on Orlah 3 (Tosafos Yom Tov)

The third chapter of Orlah lists several cases in which some illegal orlah produce needs to be destroyed to prevent it from being consumed or profited from. In the penultimate mishna, the last case ...
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50 views

Why would G-d let angels speak on His behalf?

In regards to this question of mine I would like to ask: In Genesis 18:10 it seems that one of the men/angels visiting Avraham is saying that Sarah will give birth to a son, while in Genesis 18:14 it’...
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37 views

Where does HaShem stands and in which council?

Psalm 82 teaches that Elohim (אלהים) stands (נצב to position oneself) within the council/congregation (עדת-אל) of El, among/amidst (בקרב) elohiem (אלהים) He judge (ישפט). Someone told me to look at ...
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A question of theodicy

A lot of people are bothered by the fact that bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Chazal answers by saying that it all averages out in the World to Come. But I don'...
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קול ענות אנכי - The sound of selfishness?

When Moshe came down from Mount Sinai with the knowledge that his people corrupted themselves (dealt corruptly) - quickly turned aside the way which HaShem commanded them, making a molten calf, ...
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Evil inclination compared to a strange god within man

I've found this article which quoted some interesting thoughts: Our sages said about the verse (Shabbat 105b), “There shall not be a strange god within you, nor will you bow before a strange god.” ...
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Why did the sea travelers in Yonah 1 proselytize instead of becoming righteous gentiles?

We read in Yonah 1 about the men who traveled on a boat with Yonah. When the sea ceased storming we read: "And the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they made sacrifices to the Lord and made vows."...
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38 views

מלא יד - full hand, meaning?

I've a question about the combination of words מלא יד as shown in verses like Shemot 29:35, 32:29, Vayikra 8:33, Bamidbar 3:3, 1 Divrei HaYamim 29:5, 2 Divrei HaYamim 6:4, 6:15, 13:9, 29:31 etc... ...
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58 views

The phase between death and resurrection comparable to sleeping?

Tehillim 13:4 talks about the the sleep of death (אִישַׁן הַמָּוֶת), Yeshayahu 26:19 reads something like my dead bodies shall arise--awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust (הָקִיצוּ), Daniel 12:2 ...
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44 views

Erev rav - the people of the children of Israel?

I would like to ask a question before the erev of Pesach begins. I found this article online of the chabad website and in it the claim is being made that Yosef and Ya'akov converted different people ...
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64 views

Moadim a time to witness?

The word Moadim (מועדים), Moadei (מועדי) or singular Mo'ed (מועד) is most often translated as a appointed (fixed) time (or season). From the visual look of it these words seem to have a connection ...
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Avraham Adon shel Sarah?

Why does Sarah refers to Avraham as אדני Adoni (Genesis 18:12)? Why not say Ishi אישי or Ba'ali בעלי if she is refering to him as her husband? Why would she call him her master/lord?
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ידע תדע what kind of knowing is this?

In a couple of verses like Genesis 15:13, 1 Samuel 28:1, 1 Kings 2:37, 2:42 and Proverbs 27:23 we find two verbal repetition: 'ידע תדע' quite literally translated as 'knowing you will know'. I know ...
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Give and take a battle?

http://www.aish.com/jl/p/wayofg-d/17-Created-for-Pleasure.html?mobile=yes According to my own understanding the Ramchal thought that because HaShem is completely, perfectly, totally, absolutly, ...
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No trust in His servants, and charging His malachim?

Iyov 4:18 Behold, In His (HaShem's) servants 'lo yamin', and in His messengers 'yasim toholah'. Behold, He putteth no trust in His servants, and His angels He chargeth with folly (or error). I ...
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2answers
318 views

Are we children or servants of HaShem?

HaShem teaches us to serve Him (Shemot 23:25), because we're His servants (Vayikra 25:42, 25:55), HaShem also teaches that we're His children (Devarim 14:1). There is a long explanation about these ...
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74 views

Head covering a sign of being a bride of HaShem?

Bnei Yisrael’s relationship with HaShem is often described as a marriage; HaShem is the groom and Bnei Yisrael are His bride. See Shir HaShirim for an extended example. The Prophets frequently ...
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101 views

Sefardim starting to study the Talmud with Rashi and Tosfot

When did the sefardim start to study the Talmud with Rashi and Tosfot? And which books did they use before knowing about Rashi and Tosfot?
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593 views

Chumash with Rashi and Siftei Chachamim

Does anyone know of a Chumash (not Mikraot Gedolot) with Rashi and Siftei Chachamim Most Chumashim come with Ikar Siftei Chachamim, but that's not the same thing.
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76 views

Genesis 18:3 Adonai, My Lord or lords and why?

Rabbeinu Bahya (13th Century) wrote that in non-sacred usage the Nun of adonai has a Patah, and only with an Etnahta or Sof pasuk a Qamatz when the word stands on its own. ‘And for this reason in the ...
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53 views

Zohar's interpretation of Bereshit 1

The Zohar's interpretation of the words 'Bereshit bara Elohim', usually translated as 'In the beginning G-d created', seems not to understand the word Elohim to be the subject of the verb bara, but ...
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What does the Malbim in his perush on אשת חיל in Mishlei, base his derech hamuskal on?

The Malbim in his perush on אשת חיל in Mishlei chapter 31,has 2 Perushim and one is called derech hamuskal. He learns that the whole Eishes Chayil is a Mashal. Where is the Malbim coming from, what ...
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24 views

How fast did the 2.5 tribes build their new cities?

I can't find a clear timeline of the events that preceded the conquest but in a short recap: Gad and Reuben asked to settle in Transjordan Moses agrees and offers them to build cities(?) and fences: "...
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40 views

Commentaries on aruch hashulchan

Did anyone write a peirush on aruch hashulchan?(on the choshen mishpat part) I am looking for a english or hebrew commentary.
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35 views

Change of the heart

In some places (like Mishlei 3:3 and 7:3) our hearts are compared to luchot (tablets) on which one should inscribe the words of HaShem. In another places our hearts should be circumcised: Devarim 10:...
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1answer
63 views

Comparing the Heart and Luchot

I was reading in Mishlei the other day and noticed that our hearts are sometimes compared to tablets, and that on it the Words of HaShem should be inscribed. This reminded me of Yirmiyahu who states ...
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24 views

Any connection between Isaiah 40:3 and the story of Ya'akov's name changed to Yisrael?

Regards the name changing from Ya'akov to Yisrael the Kli Yakar states that the name Yisrael comes from the word Yashar El, to be straight with G-d. This transformation is compared to Yeshayahu 40:4 '...